My friend Annie sent me a tweet she found today, with thanks to Steve Broback:
WSJ on the oil spill: If only we lived in a world where “Data and Geordie” existed. http://bit.ly/98w2Gw @levarburton @brentspiner
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that one. We could all wish for such a thing, though I’m more old school Trek myself. We know what Spock and Scotty would do. They’d slap a containment field around that leak and then work up a filter that would transport all that shit-brown goo to a holding tank, preferably far, far away from the shipping lanes. Meanwhile, down on the site, Captain Kirk would be directing the whole messy operation from the ground with the assistance of a band of redshirts who would periodically slip, fall, or be dragged into the unrelenting goo, all the while foiling a Klingon plot to ship BP’s entire leased oil reserve to the Empire to keep the Klingon war machine going.
In the meantime, McCoy would be cleaning up thousands of sentient waterbirds in sickbay with nothing more than a hypospray and his own infinite exasperation with the universe. The poor birds would be everywhere, three deep in sickbay, lining the halls, even lying about on the galley tables like so many sick and dying tribbles. It would be a terrible, terrible day.
And yet, thanks to the brilliance, determination and endurance of the Enterprise crew, somehow they would pull off a miracle. Order would be restored, the hurt and sick healed, evil plots thwarted and all that in less than an hour.
I am convinced that Americans do share a common religion, but it’s not one found in any church I know of, nor one generally celebrated in outdoor circles. It is the faith and hope found in Star Trek. It is the belief that the cosmos around us is infinitely diverse, in unimaginable combination, yet somehow knowable, and that practically anything is possible, on a regular basis.
We know what Spock would do. We are comfortable with the notion McCoy raises people from the dead-or-worse with nothing but a hissy stick and an oft-repeated mantra about not being a plumber or whatever it is that’s really the more obvious solution. Meanwhile, Uhura bridges the gaps in understanding, mediating between humanity and vastly superior beings who resemble nothing more than clouds or gesticulating pools of goo, while Kirk leads them all between bouts of spreading his genome across the galaxy. They are our angels, our priests, our heroes and our gods.
And we love them all.